Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you surprised to learn that hearing loss is more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the damage done to them due to aging, injury or disease is why someone can not hear, but did you know there is more to it than the loss of a person’s hearing bleeds into a number of other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for somebody who has always been able to hear. Consider some ways that hearing loss has a significant effect on more than just the ears.

Earning Capability

A 2006 report released by the Australian firm Access Economics states there is a link between salary potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do listen, but why?

There are a lot of things that could impact earnings. Someone who works without any hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid might miss out on serious information. They may appear for a business meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. Managers tend to appreciate those with astute attention to detail, which is a challenge when you can’t hear the details.

Working environments can be noisy and crazy, too. A person with hearing loss can become confused with all that sound around them. They will struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a noisy environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the very same problems at work become a problem at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the individual with the problem continues to deny it. Little things like saying “what” a lot during discussions and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, family members, and spouses.

They may try to intervene and encourage this person to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, also. It is very common for someone with hearing loss to sequester themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so they so what the can to avoid them.

Mental Health Concerns

The problems at work and house take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study performed by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and melancholy. Their research suggests an increased risk of depression, particularly among girls and individuals under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study from the Senior Research Group suggests that the risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a person with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of sadness to sudden fits of anger more often than those that did wear them.

Safety Issues

Security is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, whether it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alarm, work based on noise. They exude a high-frequency noise when there’s a danger. Even people with slight hearing loss can have difficulty hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes an issue when a person with hearing loss spans the road or drives a car, too. Sound serves to signal problems like a car coming down the road or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a link between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It’s not clear why people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to hear and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that someone with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and a person with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.

When someone has hearing loss, it’s true there is probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. The fantastic news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment options lowers the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.